3 Reasons Why Your Business Needs a Mobile App

Mobile devices, like smartphones, have changed the way we communicate with friends and colleagues, the way we manage our social lives, and even the way we make purchases.

In fact, mobile devices have become so important to our daily lives, we carry them everywhere we go. Now, the whole world is rapidly going mobile, as the following statistics from We Are Social’s Digital, Social and Mobile in 2015 report show:

  • One third of global web traffic (33.4%) is already mobile, and it is growing at a year-on-year average of +39%
  • The Desktop/Laptop share of global web traffic is currently 62%, and it is shrinking at a year-on-year average of -13%
  • Global mobile penetration is 51% (percentage of unique users to total population)
  • People worldwide spend an average of 2.7 hours browsing the internet through their mobile devices daily

With consumers quickly going mobile across the globe, many companies are developing mobile strategies such as responsive website design, mobile web apps, and native mobile apps.

Here are three reasons why your business to have a mobile app:

#1 Consumers Prefer Mobile Apps Over Websites

If there’s one major reason to explore mobile app development, it’s this — customers prefer apps over websites.

According to a recent Forrester research report, The State of Mobile Apps For Retailers, 63% of consumers prefer using mobile apps over websites. And on average, mobile users have about 27 apps that they spend 37 hours a month using, according to a recent Nielsen study.

Why do people prefer mobile apps over websites? The answer is simple — because apps deliver the following benefits:

  • Convenience: Apps provide a user-friendly and simplified way to view a company’s website or access a web application’s functions on the go.
  • Speed: Apps typically let users access a company’s products, services, and content faster than visiting a website, and provides the added benefit of mobile accessibility.
  • Personalization: Apps enable users to adjust settings and preferences and receive personalized product/service recommendations or content — even when offline.

Remember, the performance of your mobile app will impact your brand’s perception. If you don’t conduct user testing or take User Experience (UX) into account when developing it — your app might end up frustrating your customers instead of making their lives easier.

#2 Because Mobile Apps Enable You to Support and Solve Customer Needs

For companies in the retail, software, internet, banking, and gaming industries — creating apps for customers is an absolute necessity.

However, your company doesn’t need to be in those industries to build an app. If most of your target market is mobile and you believe that you can alleviate your customers’ pain points with mobile tools and/or content — you too build an app too.

If you’re unsure of what type of app to look into, here are several that can enable you to provide solutions to your mobile audience:

  • eCommerce App: If your company already engages in selling products and services online, creating a mobile app is a must — as it enables your customers to make purchases quickly and conveniently while allowing you to send them push notifications on your latest sales and products.
  • Gamified App: If a core part of your business involves educating your audience (e.g. sales force, customers, etc.), but your content isn’t naturally exciting, including gamification elements can make your app more engaging, interactive, and fun for your users.
  • Interactive Visual Aids (IVAs): IVAs are a type of digital visual aid used extensively by the pharma industry to show targeted, interactive medical education content to health care providers (HCPs) or patients — but they can also be used by companies in other industries to educate employees and customers on their products and services.
  • Software as a Service (SaaS) App: If your company already provides an SaaS service (e.g. collaboration, CRM, project management, transaction processing, eCommerce, etc.) to consumers via a web application — it can be converted into a mobile app that can help you reach your customers on the go.

If your market isn’t dominated by a particular platform (e.g. iOS), you might want to consider developing a cross-platform app that can be adapted to multiple platforms such as iOS, Android, and Windows — so your app can reach more mobile users.

#3 Because Mobile Apps Can Expand Your Market Reach

For an app to be successful, it must acquire new users and be engaging enough to keep them. App marketing for acquiring new users is a whole other topic, but a good first step is listing your app on a distribution platform (App Store, Google Play, etc.) and creating a page or microsite for it within your website.

While acquiring, attaining, and engaging your users are the ultimate goals of any app — one key benefit of building a good mobile user base is that you’ll be able to market directly to them through the following:

  • Push Notifications: Push notifications enable you to deliver product, promotion, or app update messages to your mobile users' home screens, even if the app is not open or in use. Push notifications can be invasive, so make sure use it only for messages that add value to your users.
  • In-App Messages: In-app messages enable you to communicate directly with your app users to deliver promotional and non-promotional content such as a tour of your app’s features, welcome messages, product/service announcements, and even personalized greetings.
  • Short Message Service (SMS): If you can get your users to opt in to receive SMS messages via your app, you can send them your latest product/service information quickly and efficiently.
  • Email: Email is still a powerful tool when it comes to marketing to your mobile users, and well constructed, mobile optimized emails with engaging content can still achieve a relatively high open rate.

It’s crucial that you monitor your app’s performance through mobile analytics so you can continually optimize its content, features, and functions.

Should Your Company Invest in Building a Mobile App?

Mobile apps aren’t for everyone. In fact, you need a mobile app strategy in order to define the requirements that’ll lead to an app that is intuitive, provides a good UX, and satisfies users’ needs.

So before you invest tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars in mobile app development, consider working with an experienced digital innovation consultant to build a mobile app strategy that answers the following questions:

  • Who are your target users and what is the app’s business purpose?
  • Which mobile devices will you target with the app (e.g. iOS, Android, etc.)?
  • Will the app be released in multiple stages?
  • Will your app need ongoing developer support after launch?
  • Will you engage a digital agency to handle app development and design?

With the help of a digital innovation consultant, you’ll also be able to answer the question of whether or not your company needs a mobile app. After all, it may turn out that what your company really needs isn’t a mobile app, but responsive web design and/or a mobile web app.

How has having a mobile app improved your business? What challenges did you face when building your company’s app? Share your experience with us by leaving a comment.